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11/21/01

VIEW FROM THE MOUNT

Sober Thought Provoking Essays
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and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE . . .

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If you think practicing what you preach is rough, just try preaching what you practice.
Bowen Baxter

Where are the Clerics?

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Are You Willing To Lose Your Head?

For more than thirty years, a consistent slide in religious leadership has taken over the institutional Churches in America. Once upon a time their mission was preaching the gospel. Today the assignment is to get and keep tax-exempt status. The holy grail is an IRS 501 (c) (3) non-profit tax exempt corporation. Incorporation, of any kind, accepts the rule of the State, over an organization. Why in the world (certainly not a requirement of heaven) would an assembly of believers consider themselves a 'trust' of the government?

The unfortunate answer is an acceptance that avoiding paying taxes is more important than exhortation of the message. Some will say this kind of filing is but a minor matter and does not diminish from the tasks of a ministry. They are just being realistic to the organizational methods of a modern society. Well, all the rationalization that one can muster, will not change the reality that a church is NOT a corporation.

In a day when many charities have a suspect record, why are so many 'houses of worship' so eager to join the accounting rush to seek deductions, exemptions and those blessed privileges of a special status.

The tax game is played by most. Churches have become some of the best practitioners of building temporal temples to further their secular interests. Lest we forget, it is a choice to file for tax-exempt status, not a requirement to service your community. The entire notion of community service is an adjunct to the main purpose of any religious organization. Those roles may well have merit and provide valuable compassion for self help, but these are social functions. When they take the lead, at the expense of forgetting the fundamental reason for their existence, we are left wanting.

Faith, doctrine and preaching the message is the true purpose of religion. Denomination's vary dramatically in beliefs and emphasis, but teaching the tenants for moral behavior is central to claiming the mantel of a theology. So why is their silence of the last several decades so deafening? Silence in the realm where they have planted their new flag. Silence in the role of government and the policies that form the direction of the State. And silence in any notable criticism of administrating institutions and bureaucratic personnel.

Shocked to think there may be a connection to that tax-exempt status! Only an idiot denies the power of civil authority, but it takes a fool to willingly accept abuses of civic dominion, as the price to avoid the tax collector. Public policies are designed for managing, controlling and directing society. At the core of all bureaucracies is the intent to demand compliance to rules. Rules that are indirectly conceived, but universally applied. Or so goes the theory. But what happens when those codes come into conflict with religious beliefs? And more to the point, what actions do religious ministers take when these laws and policies, violate the very essence of their dogmas? Are their convictions now defined in the new light of cordial relations with the secular world?

It surely seems the record reflects abandonment of purpose, for reasons less than genuine. Persecution of religious sects has been one of the few consistencies throughout history. Examining those religious orders who were the target of the king's wrath, usually meant that voicing the tenants of faith, conflicted with the direction of government. Has anything changed in today's world? Few leaders of organized religion have spoken out against the New World Order, while knowing that it is fully foretold. Their lack of resistance to the march towards TC 'totalitarian collectivism' is the only message that we hear from their pulpits. Do you really accept that uniformity in support of the process of continuous international intervention, is based upon understandings of faith?

The latest 'so called', just war; is another escalation into the realm of total obedience. But the god of this assembly, is the one order that this worldwide community worships. Is this course so marked as the way to salvation that dissent is not needed? Or has the ministry of 'secular humanism' been so successful, that it has eliminated the gospel of traditional values from the marketplace of ideas? Belief is the reasonable expectation and trust that the unproved is real and true. Proof is what the NWO provides. Testimony that their way, is the path of homage for the enhanced targeting of GPS, global positioning satellites. This is the message of the privileged few, accepted by the vast majority and ignored by the clergyman. The pastor is supposed to minister. That means enlighten the word of faith, not perform the duties of the State. Reticence from priestly teachers is the modern sin.

Buying into the seduction of tax relief is but a symbol of a more profound decay. The reluctance to speak out and condemn wrong behavior, false actions and destructive policies; has become epidemic. It extends to Islamic Clerics, Jewish Rabbis and Christian Ministers. Those who have the courage to raise these issues usually are trashed as extremists. Staying above the fray and keeping your head intact, means keeping your mouth shut. Is that the calling that the spirit beckons?

Compromise is a way of life for most people. Arriving at consensus can have value when intentions are virtuous. But when agreement is jealously persuaded and defended as the supreme 'Good', at the cost of moral principle, the results will inevitably be tragic. Churches were once the basic and most respected institution in our society. Attendance may be up, but what message are they getting? Is it any wonder why so many churches have abandoned their congregations? People yearn for inspiration and hope. What they get in its place is a copy of the IRS form 1023. It is the document that applies for recognition, as a worthy member for the franchise of tax-exemption. The message of the scripture has been traded for the fluid assets of a counterfeit note. Do you forget the nature of the Philistine? The value of your head is not worth more than that of John the Baptist. The wilderness that you roam is a range for wanderers escaping their duty, to preach the gospel.

And we all wonder why the world seems so hopeless? The war on terror is but an allusion and is a flight from self reflection. If your clergy has forsaken that cause, what say you?

SARTRE - November 21, 2001

That we should practice what we preach is generally admitted; but anyone who preaches what he and his hearers practice must incur the gravest moral disapprobation.
Logan Pearsall Smith

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